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Caron Mural © proyecto mARTadero/Flickr
Caron Mural © proyecto mARTadero/Flickr
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Muralist Paints Evocative Weeds Across San Francisco Buildings

Picture of Courtney Holcomb
Updated: 2 November 2016
Muralist Mona Caron has been filling walls all around the world in cities like Athens, Sao Paulo, and now San Francisco. Her paintings magnify plants often overlooked in the wild, intending them to act as a metaphor representing those marginalized in society.

Born in Switzerland, Caron has been painting for years, beginning by illustrating bird’s-eye views of various cities. More recently, she has flipped the perspective, instead taking small weeds and painting huge portraits of them. The illustrations are intended to be provocative, drawing attention to the way we treat those invasive or unwanted species. As Caron told Global Voices, ‘the less attention we pay it, the larger I’m gonna paint it!’

Rather than aiming to make her weeds look realistic, she paints them from a low angle to make them look huge and heroic. ‘I don’t paint dainty little grandmotherly botanical illustrations,’ she says. She sees the weeds as powerful plants, and she has now painted them in dozens of cities around the world. In Switzerland and San Francisco you can see her massive dandelions, and a stinging nettle can be found in Barcelona.

"Plantago Lanceolota" © Stephen Kelly/Flickr
“Plantago Lanceolota” | © Stephen Kelly/Flickr

Caron stands atop a motorized scissor lift to paint the highest parts of her murals, raising her way up into the air to fill the walls of various buildings with charcoal and spray paint. She recently painted a giant Ribwort plantain on an office building in San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill, overlooking the Transamerica Pyramid. ‘Really what I try to highlight,’ she tells Global Voices, ‘is this transgressive act of bringing life back to something that seemed to be dead.’

Visit Telegraph Hill to get a glimpse of the plantain, or find the San Francisco mosque bearing one of her dandelions. If traversing the streets of San Francisco to see Caron’s paintings in person isn’t feasible, check out the stop motion animation below, featuring her painting.